On 12 April 2019, the United Nations Security Council held a briefing on the current situation in Colombia, followed by closed consultations. It included a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.
The briefing also featured a woman civil society briefer, Rosa Emilia Salamanca, who is the Executive Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE), a member of the Women, Peace, and Security Collective for Reflection and Action, and Coalicion 1325. A lifelong peace activist, Salamanca played a key role in the Colombian peace process, which WILPF has applauded in its recent guidance note, Towards a Feminist Security Council, as a good example of a bottom-up approach to peace-building.
Ms. Salamanca’s speech underlined the critical gaps and key areas for implementation of the peace agreement. She specifically highlighted the issue of reintegration of former combatants, as well as important questions around truth, justice, and reparations. She affirmed the potential of the peace agreement to bring transformational change to Colombia, but that accountability, especially on the gender provisions of the agreement, is critical. She urged the Security Council and assembled representatives of the Colombian government that the implementation of a gender approach in the reintegration of ex-combatants must be hastened along with provision of financial and technical resources, ensuring that ex-combatant women are safe from discrimination and violence.
Ms. Salamanca also affirmed the importance of the meaningful participation of civil society, particularly women-led civil society in post-conflict social reconstruction, as well as the lead up to and during peace processes. Salamanca specifically noted that investing in women "pays peace dividends", and that implementing the peace agreement's gender approach has the potential to accelerate the benefits of peace, not only for women in their diversity, but for society as a whole.
Her statement was well-received by Member States, with many states citing her comments throughout the ensuing discussion.
WILPF continues to urge the Security Council to prioritise having women civil society members brief the Council on developments in their local, national, and regional contexts. Ms. Salamanca’s speech demonstrates the importance of highlighting the experiences and recommendations of women civil society speakers, and the impact of applying gender analysis throughout the peace-building process.
Read the full text of Rosa Emilia Salamanca's speech (in Spanish) here and WILPF's full analysis of the briefing here.
WILPF will be publishing an interview with Ms. Salamanca in the coming weeks - stay tuned on our Twitter and website!